10th US Service Member Dies as Military Coronavirus Cases Near 100,000

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Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Ogletree III, 45, from Lakeland, Florida, died Nov. 12, 2020, of COVID-19 complications
Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Ogletree III, 45, from Lakeland, Florida, died Nov. 12, 2020, of COVID-19 complications. Courtesy of the Army Reserve

As COVID-19 cases surge across the country, a 10th U.S. service member -- an Army reservist -- has succumbed to the illness, Pentagon officials said Monday.

Sgt. 1st Class Calvin Ogletree III, 45, of Lakeland, Florida, died Nov. 12 at the Bartow Regional Medical Center in central Florida. He is the sixth member of the Army Reserve and third reservist from Florida to succumb to the virus.

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According to Army Reserve spokesman Lt. Col. Simon Flake, Ogletree served in the Army for 27 years, including three on active duty as a light wheel vehicle mechanic and more than 24 in the Reserve, beginning in 1997 as a motor transport operator.

His last duty assignment was as a senior writer instructor for the 8th Battalion, 108th Regiment (Transportation), in Jacksonville, Florida.

According to Flake, Ogletree deployed to Iraq in 2003. He previously had served on active duty in Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

His death marks the third COVID-related casualty for Florida-based Army Reserve units: Sgt. 1st Class Clifford Gooding, 58, a senior maintenance supervisor with the 301st Field Hospital in Saint Petersburg died Aug. 28, while Master Sgt. Brian Tolliver, 46, command paralegal for the Army Reserve Medical Command in Pinellas Park died Aug. 17.

Flake did not respond by publication time to a question about the men's activation status in the months leading up to their deaths.

Ogletree's death occurred as COVID-19 is surging across the U.S., with an average of nearly 150,000 new cases a day, or almost five times the number of cases at the height of pandemic shutdowns in March.

The U.S. military community has been widely affected: As of Monday, nearly 100,000 people affiliated with the Defense Department had tested positive for the virus, including 67,433 military personnel, 10,026 dependents, 16,149 civilian employees and 6,221 defense contractors.

In addition to the 10 service members, 69 civilians, eight dependents and 26 contractors have died.

The Army -- the largest of the services -- has had the highest number of cases since the pandemic began: 24,903 as of Monday. The Navy has had the second highest, 14,495, followed by the Air Force, 11,393, and the Marine Corps, 8,266. The National Guard has had 7,917 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 infection rates, determined by the number of cases divided by the total number serving, have ticked upward for nearly all the services in the past week. The Army's infection rate is .05, up from .033; the Navy's is .043, also up from .033; and the Marine Corps' is .044, up from .033.

The Air Force continues to have the lowest infection rate, .034, up from .022 last week.

Army officials said last month that they have seen cases surging in Germany and Europe and, while they are taking steps to stem the tide in the U.S., it is a challenge because so many soldiers live off base in neighboring communities.

"We float on our surrounding communities; we're just a little further upstream," Army Public Health Center Director John Resta said during a phone call with reporters Oct. 14. "Most of the time, our rates will lag local communities."

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in nearly every state, and the U.S. continues to lead the world in the number of cases and deaths: 11,114,151 total cases as of Monday, or roughly a fifth of all global cases, and 246,758 deaths -- 18% of the world's deaths, despite having just 4% of the world's population.

With Ogletree's death, the case fatality rate among U.S. service members is roughly .015% -- significantly below the national case fatality rate of 2.2%. The U.S. ranks 12th in the world for observed case fatality ratios; Mexico has the highest at 9.8%.

The mortality rate for COVID-19 in the U.S. is the 7th highest in the world: 75.26 deaths per 100,000 people. Belgium has the highest mortality rate in the world: 126.26 per 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins.

Ogletree is survived by his mother, Kathy Ogletree; sister Sheletta Ogletree; and brother Warren Johnson, all of Lakeland.

During his long career, Ogletree earned the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, four Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the NATO Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Mobilization device and National Defense Service Medal.

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

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